A Good Saturday Morning To All!
[If you had a speech impediment and lisped your “s’s”, would you choose this song as your only solo among the repertoire of your singing group? Why didn’t Karen tell her bother? This has mystified me for decades…]
1 It’s irrational and pointless fury day in D.C. Today hundreds of thousands of intellectually dishonest, ignorant or purely emotional citizens will be doing the equivalent of screaming at the sky to call for “something” to be done about gun violence., because “think of the children.” Yes, I think that’s a fair characterization.
Given the chance to suggest actual measures that would stop the equivalent of the Parkland shooting, one of my usually rational but currently virtue-signalling-to beat-the-band friends really made this pathetic argument in response to a Facebook post that was a shorter, gentler version of what I just posted on Ethics Alarms: ‘Where is your empathy? Would you feel this way if your son had been killed in the Parkland shooting?”
Can you believe that? “How would you feel if you were so emotionally ruined, angry and despairing that you couldn’t think straight?” Why, I believe that I would be so emotionally ruined, angry and despairing that I couldn’t think straight—and thus useless to any serious and objective public policy discussion. As I told my friend, when “Why can’t you be irrationally and emotionally biased like the rest of us?” is your reflex rebuttal, you’ve got nothin.
2. Related: YouTube is banning gun instructional videos. This a part of a growing trend in the online platform world to attempt to constrict information and discourse according to ideology and partisan preferences. There is no more justification for banning how-to videos about guns than there is for banning how-to videos for chain-saws. The social media companies are going to have to be regulated as common carriers, or the right of free speech and access to information will be slowly strangled by these left-wing, high-tech, useful idiots.
3. From the ” Tragic Misunderstandings of the Cognitive Dissonance Scale” files. Lindsay Lohan is the new spokesperson for Lawyer.com. What, O.J. wasn’t available?
4. Tipping policy update: Remember this ethics quiz, about the proposed rule that would allow restaurants to distribute tips to other workers, like cooks? The spending bill President Donald Trump irresponsibly signed into law this week includes a section forbidding employers from taking any portion of tips that diners leave for workers—that was a straw man all along—but also allows pooling of tips, which was the original idea. This allows both management and labor to claim victory.
5. Here is a wonderful example of the cellar-level ethics sophistication in the world of journalism. From a Baltimore Sun op-ed, titled “We’ve been too forgiving of unethical artists”;
Entertainment icons are falling from grace — but what about the work they have created? Is it wrong to be enthralled by Kevin Spacey’s ruthless character in “House of Cards” after learning about his alleged sexual misconduct toward more than a dozen men, including minors? Can we still find Aziz Ansari’s depictions of navigating modern dating insightful after reading about his controversial sexual behavior? After at least eight sexual misconduct accusations, can we still quote Jeremy Piven’s one-liners as super-agent Ari Gold from Entourage? If history is any indication, we probably can. But we shouldn’t. …If consumers want art to be ethically created, they must put their financial support behind artists that align with those values….
We, as consumers, have been incredibly forgiving when it comes to entertainment. We may have even stated as a principle that an artist and their art are two different things. But we should no longer be willing to make that distinction. This is not an unreasonable demand. Artists can be good people — or, at the very least, not predators.
Well which is it, you idiot? Do we want good people, or non-predators?
The writer, Garrett Zink ( a corporate social responsibility strategist) is too occupied with waving his sensitivity flag to bother with such details. In his screed, he manages to mention, in addition to Spacey, Aziz and Piven, Chuck Berry, Michael Jackson, and Woody Allen. He could have also mentioned John Lennon, Pete Seeger, Arthur Miller, William Saroyan, David Bowie, Amedeo Modigliani, Charles Chaplin, Mozart, Hemingway, Picasso, Roman Polanski, Ann Perry (who helped murder her friend’s mother—in the original post I erroneously said that the victim was Perry’s mother), J.D. Salinger, James Brown, William Golding, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, Miles Davis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sean Connery, Clark Gable, Bill Cosby, Steven Tyler, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra…how long do you want the list to be, and how much of our great art and how many of our great artists do you want to jettison from the culture?
No one who has dealt with artists would ever write something so foolish. Great artists are often great because they are broken people. Their art for them achieves the virtues they cannot. We can have virtuous artists, or good art. We cannot insist on both. We don’t need artists to be good people, just as we don’t need brain surgeons to be good people. We, and society, only need them to do their job brilliantly.